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Trump Administration CTE Comments


Please note the statements below may not represent an up-to-date or completely comprehensive list of statements on CTE made by President Trump or members of his administration.  

President Donald Trump Statements 

No Date – Trump Campaign 2016 Website
“Ensure that the opportunity to attend a two or four-year college, or to pursue a trade or a skill set through vocational and technical education, will be easier to access, pay for, and finish.

October 22, 2016 – Speech in Pennsylvania on First 100 Days in Office
“[The School Choice and Education Opportunity Act] expands vocational and technical education, which we’ve totally forgot about in this country, and make two- and four-year colleges more affordable. Have you ever gone to school and you’ve been with people that aren’t good students but they can fix an engine or they can build a wall, or they can do things that you wouldn’t even think about? Because we could use some of the ones who can build a wall. We’re going to need them. We’re going to need them. We’re going to need them. But did you ever see that how they’re genius at fixing a car, they can do anything, but history, not so good, physics, not so good. I mean we have to open vocational again. Those are the people. These are great people.”

November 1, 2016 – Speech at Rally in Pennsylvania
“To recruit master craftsmen this build-up requires and we will establish centers of excellence at locations like the Philadelphia Navy Yard. Vocational training is a great thing. We don’t do it anymore. We don’t do it anymore. And I must tell you, so often and going to college right down the road, in going to college, we’d have people that were brilliant and we had other people that weren’t as brilliant in that way but were brilliant – incredible when it came to fixing a motor, when it comes to fixing something that I had no idea what was happening and other great geniuses have no idea what was happening and they could take it apart blindfolded. And we don’t do that anymore. Vocational training for our country is so, so, so important. And just in closing that and they loved it. They loved it. They didn’t want to be doing what I was doing. They loved it. They were so good at it and they loved it. So vocational training. We’re going to start it up big league.

March 17, 2017 – Meeting with German Chancellor on Apprenticeships
We want to make sure we have the workforce development programs we need to ensure these jobs are being filled by American workers… Both Germany and the United States have pioneering job-training programs. Here in the United States, companies have created revolutionary high-tech and online courses. And, of course, for decades, Germany has been a model for highly successful apprenticeships – that’s a name I like, “apprentice” – apprenticeship programs. As a result, Germany’s youth unemployment rate is much lower than many of the other countries, especially EU countries… We must embrace new and effective job-training approaches, including online courses, high school curriculums, and private-sector investment that prepare people for trade, manufacturing, technology, and other really well-paying jobs and careers. These kinds of options can be a positive alternative to a four-year degree. So many people go to college, four years, they don’t like it, they’re not necessarily good at it, but they’re good at other things, like fixing engines and building things. I see it all the time, and I’ve seen it – when I went to school, I saw it. I sat next to people that weren’t necessarily good students but they could take an engine apart blindfolded. Companies across the country have a chance to develop vocational training programs that will meet their growing needs and to help us achieve greater prosperity… I believe that both countries will be stronger if we continue to deepen our bilateral cooperation on vocational training as we build off the best ideas, create the greatest opportunity for growth, and improve the lives of so many workers.

April 18, 2017 – Announcing “Buy American, Hire American” Executive Order (begins 40:03)
“Secretary DeVos is working to ensure our workers are trained for the skilled technical jobs that will, in the future, power our country. I’m excited to be joined today by students from Gateway Technical College and remember, the college president, Bryan Albrecht, thank you. Great job. Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you, Bryan. Your partnership with Snap-on is a great example of why vocational education is the way of the future. When I was growing up in Queens, we had vocational schools, they were great. We don’t have schools like that so much anymore but we’re bringing them back. Vocational schools. These are very talented people that love that type of work and it’s great work, it really is. It’s great work. So vocational schools are going to be a big factor in the Trump administration.”

January 30, 2018 - State of Union Address
"Let us open great vocational schools so our future workers can learn a craft and realize their full potential."

February 1, 2018 - Remarks at the 2018 Republican Retreat (begins 22:30)
"We can invest in workforce development, job training, and open new vocational schools because we want every American to be able to reach their full, God-given potential. Vocational schools. Today you have community colleges, and you have all of the - When I was growing up, you had vocational schools. And when I was going to school, I remember, I was in high school and there were people in class, one person in particular, he wasn't, like, the greatest student. And, he just wasn't. And yet I saw him one day and he was able to fix a car engine blindfolded. And everybody else was saying, 'that's amazing how talented he is.' He had a different kind of a talent. And we should have vocational schools. You learn mechanical, you learn bricklaying and carpentry and all of these things. We don't have that very much anymore. And I think the word 'vocational' is a much better word than, in many cases, a community college. A lot of people don't know what a community college means or represents. So we're working very hard on vocational schools so that when all these companies move into this country, we're going to have a workforce that knows exactly what they're doing. And in addition to that, when they move in we're giving them incentives to also train people themselves, because in many ways, that's the best way to do."


Secretary Betsy DeVos Statements 

January 17, 2017 - Confirmation Hearing
President-elect Trump and I agree we need to support all postsecondary avenues, including trade and vocational schools, and community colleges.”

February 16, 2017 - Community College National Legislative Summit
“[President’s 100-day action plan] notes the importance of expanding vocational and technical education – the type of career and technical education that community colleges excel at providing – and making two- and four-year college degrees more affordable. He has called multiple paths for postsecondary education ‘an absolute priority’ for his Administration, and I share that vision.”

February 28, 2017 – POTUS Signing of STEM Bills
“Women are consistently underrepresented in STEM professions, and these laws will help to alleviate that gap. By encouraging women to follow a career in STEM, we can help foster innovation, promote entrepreneurism and maintain our country’s global competitiveness.

March 13, 2017 – Address to the Council of the Great City Schools
“[ESSA] requires states to ensure students – all students – have access to excellent teachers and a positive, safe learning environment that prepares them to graduate high school ready for college or career education.” /// “Another example [of out-of-the-box approaches to education] is Cleveland’s Project Lead The Way. Project Lead The Way connects students with engineering businesses and organizations in the community. Children learn relevant subjects such as coding, robotics, and in some cases, 3D printing. This type of hands-on experience encourages students to engage in ways the traditional classroom often does not, and it introduces them to skills and subject-areas with high-potential futures."

March 20, 2017 – Address to National Association of State Boards of Education
“Your states are also best positioned to prepare your workforce through career and technical education that fits the unique needs of your economies. The president has made it clear that strengthening our nation’s workforce is crucial to maintaining our global competitiveness. We need to seek out and highlight the best practices and most effective efforts put forward in individual states so you can determine whether they might be replicable and/or appropriate in your own state. California has been forward-leaning in implementing career and technical education programs that deliver results: The state now offers more than 13,000 courses that meet the admissions requirements of the University of California system.”

March 24, 2017 - Tweet
“The @ValenciaCollege Mechatronics and Welding programs prepare students for high-demand careers.”

March 24, 2017 - Tweet
“This @ValenciaCollege mobile trailer takes learning to where the students are. Dozens will have jobs as a result. I had to give it a try!”

March 24, 2017 – Tour Valencia College in Florida
Community colleges are a tremendous option and a tremendous on ramp for many students, and we need to do a much better job of highlighting the important work they do across this country to help students achieve their goals and abilities.

March 24, 2017 – Interview with Orlando’s WFTV
“I think dual-enrollment is a great option for high schoolers that want to earn college credit and get a jump on their college, their post-high school studies. And Valencia College is clearly addressing that need in a meaningful and major way. It’s a model that can be replicated in many other communities.”

March 28, 2017 – Women’s History Month STEM Event at Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum
Every child should have the opportunity to fulfill his or her full potential, which is why today’s celebration of Women’s History Month and Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education is so important.”

March 4, 2017 – Comments During Visit to Excel Academy Public Charter
“[Excel Academy’s] focus on STEM education prepares its students for success in high-potential fields that need more female representation.”

April 11, 2017Statement on the President’s Strategy and Policy Forum Listening Session
“The best workforce is an educated workforce, and this Administration is committed to increasing access to career and technical education for college students and adults alike. By encouraging public-private partnerships, we can help connect students with prospective employers and provide those students with the necessary skills to find a good-paying job in their communities.”

April 12, 2017 – Meeting with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel
“I applaud the Mayor for Chicago’s… commitment to providing more students with new opportunities through dual enrollment programs.

April 18, 2017 – Statement on POTUS’ “Buy American, Hire American” Executive Order
“…There’s a real demand among American companies for skilled workers like the ones Snap-On Tools employs. To strengthen our economy, we need a skilled and educated workforce. That’s why this Administration is committed to supporting and highlighting career and technical education… I applaud the President for his commitment to our nation’s students and workers, and his efforts to ensure we have a workforce equipped to fill American jobs that are open and readily available today.”

May 9, 2017 – DeVos Visit to Granite Technical Institute per The Salt Lake Tribune
Speaking to students at Granite Technical Institute, “All of you coming together with a just-get-it-done attitude has clearly reaped the benefits and rewards… We’ve done young people a disservice for a long time in suggesting that if you’re going to be successful as an adult, that you have to go to a four-year college or university. That’s true for some students, but it’s not true for everyone.

May 24, 2017 – Rep. Moolenaar’s question during House FY18 budget hearing on how federal policymakers can encourage CTE
[CTE] clearly is an area of great focus on behalf of the president and this administration. I have had the privilege and opportunity to visit three different community colleges since I’ve been in this job, and all of them take a really unique approach in partnering with local businesses that have great needs for skilled workers and skilled trades and really very high-skilled, high-paying jobs. I think the way we can best support it is to, in a very targeted manner, focus the dollars to help support community colleges in this pursuit – community colleges and other institutions of higher learning. I think we have done our young people a disservice over the last few decades by suggesting that a four-year college or university is the only way you can really be a success in life, and that we have to have a much broader conversation around multiple pathways and multiple options for higher education, including layered credentialing and some of these programs that are being implemented at the community college level that are really meeting immediate needs. Students are getting the training and education that they need and into a very well-paying job can go back again a year or two or three later and get additional credentialing. We have many, many jobs going unfilled in this country today that could be filled and addressed if there is that partnership. Again, it comes down to, really, a local partnership with businesses and their needs. Saw an amazing program in Salt Lake City, one in the Orlando area, and another one in Miami – all meeting very different needs for very different directions, but many of them STEM focused, and that was a common theme. So I think that another area that we can play a role is to really highlight some of the good practices and some of the successes that are happening.

May 24, 2017 – Rep. Womack’s question during House FY18 budget hearing on when CTE should be introduced to students
“The whole area of career and career preparedness and understanding the wide range of options that one has is, I think, an area that definitely needs a lot more discussion and a lot more energy around it. Today, a lot of the funding for things that support these efforts are kind of bifurcated. Many of them in the Labor Committee, or the Labor Department, and some in the Department of Education. But the notion that there are many, many different opportunities for students beyond high school is not really addressed at an early enough age. And I think, I agree with you, a couple of the places that I’ve visited that have really great dual enrollment programs have started to address this, but I think there is an opportunity to have young people exposed to some of these opportunities much earlier. And apprenticeships and internships, we should be talking about how to encourage and support the growth of these in a major way. I had an opportunity to visit a really unique high school yesterday – one of the Cristo Rey schools. I don’t know if you’ve heard about this but these are Catholic high schools that, as a way to help support and fund the operation of the school, the students actually go to work in a business one day a week and, through doing so, gain a whole lot of personal experience and confidence, but also help to support their education. And they come out of high school really with a much broader understanding of the professional work, the work world, and options and opportunities they have. Those kinds of unique and innovative approaches to exposing people to a wide range of possibilities early on are things we should be encouraging, and I go back to this notion that, again, states and local communities are best equipped to try these things. They are the best laboratories of democracy. And we should be highlighting those that are working well, and encouraging others to emulate them.”

May 24, 2017 – Rep. Fleischmann’s question during House FY18 budget hearing on computer
I definitely share your interest in ensuring that students have exposure to STEM subjects and, in fact, have opportunity to pursue really robust programs in that area. As an anecdote, I would refer to the high school that my husband started – a charter high school focused on aviation that has a very distinct STEM focus and has been doing an amazing job at attracting kids that would not have been likely to have been a part of a high school like that. With regards to specifics in the budget, this budget, again, was developed before the continuing resolution was addressed, but we do have a $20 million experimental grant in for STEM competition, and I think that’s a good place and a good role for the department. I think an important place for the focus to be placed around STEM is really, again, at the state level because they are putting the ESSA plans together. They have the opportunity to really customize it for the students in their states and their local communities. I had an interesting conversation last week with a number of superintendents from – one from a rural district, one from a large urban area, another from a medium-sized city, and then the other one was actually a statewide superintendent. How they have implemented coding programs in their districts, and I believe the organization they have partnered with on that has now entered 20 percent of the school districts in the country. I think we need to continue to encourage that. I hesitate to say we should mandate it from the federal level, but we should try to actually encourage and support those activities as states are putting their plans together.”

July 27, 2017 – Remarks by Secretary DeVos to the Michigan Community College Association Summer Conference
"...One hallmark of a community college is its remarkable ability to adapt. I wish more in education would anticipate the needs of students like you do... community colleges are a uniquely American institution and a proud national asset... Your work is inclusive, innovative, collaborative, and entrepreneurial. Community colleges are the heartbeat of the education ecosystem. Your wide range of options help students thrive in our competitive and constantly changing economy. Community college graduates have skills that make for satisfied employers, booming industries, and healthy communities... many ways community colleges are helping meet the needs of both our students and our economy... Community colleges thrive because your institutions are student-centric. Whatever pathway a student wants to take, you're ready with offerings like night and weekend classes, online courses, child care, academic and career counseling, micro-grants, part-time and full-time programs, and also dual enrollment programs for high school students. You open your doors to all students, especially those who face obstacles to success... Students should be able to pursue their education when and how it fits their schedule... We need a robust and nimble workforce equipped to take the 21st century global economy head on... Your work will help close the skills gap, jump-start our regional economies, and connect more Americans with the good jobs and salaries that once helped so many families and communities thrive... education can't stop at age 22. Education will -- and should -- be a lifelong pursuit, with multiple pathways, often outside of the traditional 4-year degree. Community colleges will be that option for many, and they should never, ever be dismissed as a 'lesser option' or a last resort... The Perkins Act reauthorization is also gaining traction on Capitol Hill. We like the approach to reforming and strengthening career technical education reflected in the bills legislators are considering, but we should not do this piecemeal? Piecemeal does not help students, or you. The more pages of legislation generated, the more you are distracted from educating and equipping students.

September 14, 2017 – Remarks by Secretary DeVos at Johnson County Community College
Highlighting partnerships between Johnson County Community College and local industry, the secretary noted, "[there are] highly skilled jobs available, and yet nobody really available to fill those jobs." In response to another question, the secretary said, "we are actually supporting career and technical education..."

September 26, 2017 – Remarks by Secretary DeVos to SkillsUSA Members
"You know CTE shares overwhelming bipartisan support... as well as very strong support from our president... This administration believes students need a full menu of options, whether you choose to pursue a rigorous technical training program leading to a well-paying job in a high-demand field or a two-year or four-year college degree program. You must know that there are multiple pathways to pursue your education after your high school diploma... We believe students - and their parents - need to better understand what all of those options are, and how to connect with them, including technical schools, community colleges and earn-and-learn programs such as apprenticeships... This is one of the many areas where high-quality CTE can play a vital role. We believe that career and technical student organizations, especially SkillsUSA, are an important option for students as an integral part of their educational experience. Through CTSOs, students receive unparalleled opportunities to gain not only technical skills, but employability skills such as teamwork, problem solving and communication - skills that our nation's employers need and demand... So I'm confident that you are on the right path to colllege and career readiness. I am confident you will make important contributions as members of our nation's workforce. And, I am confident that you are our next generation of leaders."

October 27, 2017 - Prepared Remarks from Secretary DeVos to the FFA National Conference
"You educational experiences with FFA encourage you to develop your academic and technical skills, and importantly, your character, preparing you to succeed in any career you choose to pursue. President Trump and I share your vision and mission. This Administration believes students need to know about and understand the many options that are possible to pursue because more and more students are seeking something other than a traditional four-year degree. Many - I suspect many of you - are choosing to pursue a rigorous technical education program leading to a well-compensated job in a high-deamand field... We believe that all parents and students need to better understand the wide range of options, and how to connect with them. Options including technical schools, community colleges, and 'earn and learn' programs, such as apprenticeships. High-quality, rigorous, relevant career and technical education plays a vital role. And, we believe that career and technical student organizations, like FFA, are an essential part of a well-rounded educational experience... If every student had an opportunity to pursue their personal development in the context of an organization aligned with their unique interests - our nation would be stronger as a result."

November 13, 2017 - Remarks to President's Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion
"We need to stop forcing kids into believing a traditional four-year degree is the only pathway to success... We need to expand our thinking on what apprenticeships actually look like... we need to start treating students as individuals... not boxing them in." 

January 25, 2018 - Remarks to the U.S. Conference of Mayors
"There are many avenues to gain what individual students want and what employers need: industry-recognized certificates, two-year degrees, stackable credits, credentials and licensures, advanced degrees, badges, four-year degrees, micro degrees, apprenticeships... All of these are valid pursuits. Each should be embraced as such. If it's the right fit for the student, then it's the right education. Not stigma should follow a student's journey to success. Learning should be life long, not ended arbitrarily at age 22. The reality is that most Americans will have a dozen or more jobs over the course of their lifetimes, often very different from one another. We all know that most graduates don't go to work in the field in which they studied anyway. Our approach must reflect the realities of today's economy, with an eye toward tomorrow's opportunities."

Vice President Mike Pence Statements 

March 17, 2017 – Meeting with German Chancellor on Apprenticeships
“As a former governor from a great manufacturing state, I can tell you that one of our [referring to President Trump] very first conversations was about the innovation that Indiana was bringing to career and technical and vocational education. I can assure you that the passion that you see at this table today by the President was authentic, and at his direction, we’re going to work as an administration to strengthen the opportunities from secondary education on forward to open the doors for more vocational education, more technical education, and more apprenticeships across the United States to the betterment of the people of this country.

Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta Statements 

August 11, 2017 – President Trump and U.S. Secretary of Labor Acosta Discuss Apprenticeships and the American Workforce
We need to close the skills gap between the skills demanded by these open jobs and the skills offered by the American people... The concept of demand-driven education has been enthusiastically received by private industry, educational institutions and state and local officials across the country... Industry-recognized apprenticeships will teach workers skills that are transferrable within their industries, resulting in more job opportunities."

November 13, 2017 - Remarks to President's Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion
"The registered apprenticeship program that already exists does not work..." (Said in the context of promoting the President's executive order seeking to establish apprenticeship programs developed and monotiroed by entites outside the federal government.)

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao Statements 

May 15, 2017 – Chamber of Commerce Forum in honor of 2017 Infrastructure Week (minute 31)
“Far too many workers are being left behind because they are not equipped with the skills in demand in our rapidly changing economy. In transportation, for example, drivers of the future will be in charge of fleets of cars that talk to one another, dispatched by workers at a computer. Drones will inspect our infrastructure with precision and reliability, but will require some type of human control, oversight and analysis. So digital literacy and higher skills will be key. The good news is that workers don’t need an expensive four year degree to access these good paying jobs. A two-year program at a local community college is an important resource as well, and far more affordable. And increasingly, employers are offering vocational training to high school students. And there are excellent training programs offered by many skilled trades unions and government programs to help train workers as well. But to be relevant, all vocational and skills training programs have got to involve the employers because they know best which skills are in-demand, which skills they require.


Ivanka Trump Statements 

June 12, 2017 – Interview with Fox & Friends (minute 2:07)
"We're visiting one of the great examples of skills-based learning and skills-based education, a technical school... to highlight the fact that there is a viable path other than a four-year college experience. So really investing in vocational education and skills-based training. There are six million available American jobs, so we are constantly hearing from CEOs that they have job openings but they don't have workers with the skill set they need to fill those jobs. So really bridging that gap and bringing experienced-based education to the forefront. So, apprenticeship actually, [President Trump] knows it very well and it's worked throughout the world and it's something we've deemphasized here in favor of four-year traditional college, but they don't have to be mutually exclusive... The Perkins Act is a very good piece of legislation, so they are refining and extending it. It's all about skills-based education and really making sure people have the technical skills to succeed in this modern economy."

October 4, 2017 – Opinion Piece the New York Post
"Our nation's schools and workforce-training programs need to align the skills they teach with the jobs that define the modern economy. A cornerstone of our administration's approach is the integration of conding and computer science into the fabric of not just what we teach, but how we teach... Given the high and increasing demand for workers with computing skills, it is imperative that all of our students, including women and minorities, have access to computer-science education... I'll be working closely with the Departments of Education and Labor to close the growing gap between the skills our children and workers need to succeed and the education they are getting. We will continue to focus on placing our citizens on a pathway to a job – starting with K-12 curricula, but also continuing through vocational, skill-based training and apprenticeship program, including the re-training of displaced workers."

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